Day 393 | 8 February 2016 | Vrindavan Retreat at Hotel Anand Krishna Van | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • Satsang at Hotel Anand Krishna Van - Vrindavan
  • Addressing students and staff at Bon Maharaj Institute - Vrindavan
  • Rasleela with the Satsangis joining in - Vrindavan
  • Peacock Dance - Vrindavan Retreat
  • Sri M joins in the HOLI Dance program - Vrindavan Retreat
  • Showering love - Vrindavan Retreat
It was a get-together of sorts for Satsangis during the retreat at Hotel Anand Krishna Van. Many had travelled to Vrindavan exclusively for the retreat while some clubbed a few days of walk also with it. It was pure delight all around – catching up and sharing experiences with friends.

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After the Satsang in the morning, Sri M and the padayatris walked down to the Bon Maharaj Institute, hardly a kilometer away. Named after Bhakti Hridaya Bon or Swami Bon who was a Guru in the Bhakti Marg following Gaudiya philosophy, the institute runs many educational institutions. Sri M addressed the students there. Sri M started by chanting Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Nir-Aamayaah Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhavet Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih Om, May All become Happy, May All be Free from Illness. May All See what is Auspicious, May no one Suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace. After thanking all the dignitaries present at the Bon Maharaj Institute, Sri M spoke about the yatra and its significance: He explained that in the age of jet planes, they were walking, and it's only for Manav Ekta (Unity of Humanity). He touched on the fact that in a country as diverse as India where many religions co-exist, in spite of the differences, people live in peace. Talking further, he said, "It's unfortunate that sometimes this fabric of unity breaks. That's why we visit towns, villages and, especially, educational institutions where we speak to the youth because if they understand this, India is in safe hands. So if the youth understand that we are human beings and Indians before all else, then the future of this country is bright. As you must have heard, prevention is better than cure so our effort is to prevent it." Speaking of the Rig Veda, he reminded everyone that the ancient scripture is on record saying that truth is one but the wise call it by different names. Elaborating on the need for peace he said, "Every religion wants peace. When we have a satsang, we end it by saying 'shanti shanti shanti'. When two Muslims meet, they say 'salaam', which means shanti, may Khuda's grace be on you and the reply is 'may it be upon you too'. In the Sikh religion from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Govind Singh, all the sacred writings are in the Guru Granth Sahib. I would like to share one of them with you - 'Avval Allah Noor Upaye, Kudrat Ke Sab Bandhe'. No one is small, no one is big, we are all friends of God. Look at the Christian faith, the biggest thing they preach is peace. Jesus Christ said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God'. So, when there's violence anywhere, I believe that it isn't because of religion, it is given the name of religion. No religion wants this. Look closely and you'll see that it's because of some vested interest. If we look at it through the Sanatan Dharma, people say everyone wants peace." Sri M then spoke of the qualities of a true yogi as narrated by Krishna to Arjuna in The Bhagavad Gita. 'Sarva Bhoota Hite Rataha' – the one who has the welfare of all in his heart. He encouraged the students to ensure that peace is maintained and mentioned the role of the yatra in maintaining peace. He said, "We even go into villages with this message. It is not that we just go into towns. We go into small towns, sometimes. We have gone into villages in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh where the population isn't more than 500. We have satsangs under Peepal trees. Those who pray to a peepal tree will never be ready to cut it. But we cut them to make highways. Agreed that we need highways but we can build them around the tree, without cutting them because they are alive. We worship the Tulsi plant. How can you hurt something you worship? We sit under a Peepal tree and discuss these things with just about 100 people. When we tell them these things, they agree with us and say, 'We think exactly the same way but haven't voiced it yet. We are very happy that you're walking with this message. We are with you.' This happens everywhere. And believe me, the entire village walks with us. They walk for a day and go back home. But it goes to show that people understand this message and India is such a great country that we shouldn't let it break internally, we should try and keep it together." Sri M then asked the students if they think this yatra would be a success, to which they replied with a resounding 'yes' in unison. In reply, he said, "Since you've said yes, I already consider our yatra a success even before it reaches Kashmir." Continuing further he said, "India is considered the spiritual Guru of the world. Everyone is looking towards us. If there's violence even in our country, then imagine what the world will come to?" Sri M explained how some people called him mad to be doing a yatra of this proportions and said, "Some scientists are also called mad. Because if people start thinking a little differently, they call them mad. Even in bhakti its the same, when Radha is prepared to do anything to see Krishna. Be it Bhakti,or Jnana, when we do something with complete attention, and a little different from others, people will call you mad. When Archimedes climbed into the bath tub and water poured out, he understood how mass is measured. He got so excited by this discovery that he forgot to put on his clothes and ran out to the road, shouting 'eureka eureka, I have found out'. We have Avadhoots in our tradition who don't care about their clothes. We can call them mad or spiritual. I'm not asking you to become mad but whenever you do something good, and people call you mad, don't listen to them. Tell them you know what you're doing and you'll do it because it's the right thing to do." He then introduced himself and why he calls himself Sri M. The Satsang and meditation in the evening was followed by a cultural program. It had a flute recital, bhajan and dances depicting the 'Ras leela'. The brilliant costumes, the simple, folksy moves and vigorous footwork held the crowd spellbound. The dancers got the viewers involved in the rasleela and it was fun throughout. Even Sri M took part, showering flower petals on a reclining Krishna, on stage. The evening ended with a grand dinner.

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